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Furlough For Enviros: Five Earth-Lovin’ Activities For Your Staycation

As a woman living in the DC area, chances are pretty good that you’re currently on an unexpected paid staycation, courtesy of the government shutdown. But now, almost a week later, you might be running out of ideas of what you can do with all this newfound free time while still remaining friendly to the environment.

There are many ways to spend your furlough days more environmentally-friendly than sitting and watching TV in your air-conditioned home. You can use to take this time to try something new, to rebuild, refresh, and explore – here’s how.

Explore The Area

Even though all your favorite museums and national parks are closed, there are no limits to the places you can explore in and around the district. There is a lot of natural beauty interspersed throughout the city, and as far as I know, the government isn’t allowed to shut down the trees.

As for art, there are many privately-owned art galleries, still open for business, like the Phillips Gallery and the Corcoran. The Eastern Market is still open, the home of many artists selling their work.

Having some extra time means you can go further away, as well. Mount Vernon is just a 10 mile bike

ride away once you cross the Potomac. Alexandria is an adorable destination; the riverside parks are ideal for lounging on the beach, and Old Town is full of niche shops and restaurants, and its Torpedo Factory Art Center is a unique – and wonderful – experience.

Create Your Food

Choose real potatoes over couch potatoes! A government shutdown is a great excuse to plant some winter root vegetables, or prep your garden for spring.

But I know what some of you are thinking. Who has the space for a garden in DC? I barely have room for my fake cactus in the corner of the living room! Have no fear.  You can still take the time to create something edible that doesn’t necessitate the use of mulch. Something simpler, and garden-free: Infusion. Infuse olive oil, infuse vinegar, infuse liquor, infuse everything! You can transform a cheap alcohol into a tasty, easy-to-drink concoction, like vanilla or basil-flavored vodka. An herb-and-fruit infused vinegar would make a classy addition to a salad, especially alongside a rosemary-infused olive oil.

Grow Your Network

This is the perfect opportunity to work on improving your professional life. Meet up with an old contact for coffee to catch up and ask for advice. Take the time to think about your goals and career path, and talk about those with your colleagues as well.

Update your resume. Go to a DC EcoWomen happy hour you might have been too busy for otherwise. Know that you are not alone – surely there are meetups for your fellow temporarily-unemployed.

Rebuild Your Home

Is your bland wooden table falling apart, or are you sick of your tired-looking chair? This may be the perfect opportunity to revamp some of your old furniture.  Pull out that toolkit, teach yourself how to repair that broken clock or DVD player – you can learn just about anything on Youtube. Learn how to

upcycle your used goods into something new, like old records into a chip bowl, or a wine cork message board (because everyone needs another reason to drink wine!)

Cheap, throwaway goods not meant to last very long have become the norm in our society – it’s quick and easy to throw something away and not think about the consequences, like the ever-growing Great Pacific garbage patch. But now that you have extra time, take the extra hour or two to learn how to fix or upcycle your goods instead. Resist consumerism by repairing, not tossing.

Discover Your Talents

Do you spend endless hours gazing at crafts on Pinterest that you have no time for?  Do you have a burning desire to start a blog or take up an instrument? You can take this week to research that side

project that has been burning in the back of your mind. Explore your interests, and you might just find a new thing to love as much as you love being an EcoWoman!

No furlough? No fear!

These activities aren’t exclusively for the furloughed. For all you EcoWomen that don’t work for the federal government, a personal day might be in order!

What other enviro-friendly activities do you plan on doing during the furlough? Let us know in the comments!

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